Melodic metalcore group LUNE seemed to have come out of nowhere and have definitely raised a few eyebrows (mine included) in the short amount of time they have been active. The band is currently gearing up to drop their debut EP Ghost on June 12th, and here at Wall of Sound HQ we are all buzzing with excitement for its release (check out our review here), so we grabbed frontman Nathaniel Smith for a chat to get up to date with everything that is happening over at LUNE camp!
Hi Nathaniel, thank you for taking the time to chat today! For all of those who are unaware of LUNE, could you please tell us who LUNE are and how you came to be?
My pleasure! LUNE is a melodic metalcore band from Melbourne and Newcastle comprised of members from my old band, Architects Of Evolution, I, Valiance and Blind Oracle. Most of the band grew up together other than Harrison. My brother is Krys; he plays the guitar in LUNE, David played in I, Valiance with Krys, so I already have a pretty long-lasting, close relationship with them. The bass player Tyler is my brothers best friend and a childhood friend of mine. I toured pretty extensively with Harrison when he was in Blind Oracle, and I was doing all the camera work, so we have all had a rapport for a long time.
When it came to the crunch of putting together a band, it became a no brainer as to who we were going to approach. My brother and I weren’t getting along to well at the time when I would walk in on him writing music and I would ask him what it is for and would usually tell me he is just writing for himself, some of those songs ended up on the Ghost EP. We then had time apart and grew as people before my brother later approached me and said that “I have these songs, why don’t you sing on them and see what happens?” so I did, and we liked the end product, so we grabbed the people that we work well with. The work ethic of the band is a very no-bullshit policy; everybody that is in the band knows that we are there to work. We are not there to muck around at all. As experienced musicians, we have all worked with musicians that don’t have as much of a work ethic. Everyone understands that they need to do their part and pull their weight and so far it has all come together really well.
Having only released three singles thus far, the band has gathered quite a lot of traction. With there being an abundance of Australian metalcore and deathcore bands coming through the ranks, do you think it is your work ethic that is beginning to separate you from the rest?
Sure. Obviously, the music comes first. In an unending ocean of metalcore and deathcore bands, it’s important to do something to make yourself stand out. Ultimately though, we are writing the music that we like writing and that we are happy writing. I think it is obvious for some, but my brother and I are huge Periphery fans, which can seem to take influence for us but we are writing what we would like to hear. As music fans ourselves, we don’t want to listen to the same thing over and over, and we don’t want to find ourselves sticking to the template of what a metalcore band is. Not that I am saying that there is nothing else out there like us because that is not the case. We also try to not worry about what is happening next to us. We want to put our heads down, do the work while not focussing on whatever everyone else is doing because that will only slow down the process.
On a more personal note, what can we find you doing when you are not writing and recording music?
I work in the commercial photography industry. I do a lot of commercial photography and videography. I wrote and directed the video for ‘Ghost’, which was our first music video. I also shot and directed the video for ‘Manipulator’ myself. All of our graphics and things of that nature are mostly done in-house. Tyler, our bassist, is a sign-writer and a graphic designer, so he and I bounce a lot of things between each other, and when we need to hit the outsource button, we do. I write other kinds of music, I don’t just write heavy music, but that is more for myself. I generally like to listen to a lot of singer-songwriter music in my spare time.
It is really cool that you can use skills that you have learnt outside of music and incorporate them into what you are creating with LUNE.
Yeah, I’ve managed to pick up things along the way as I have worked with other artists in the past. I have worked with Alpha Wolf a lot in the past; I was on one of their first tours when they moved from Tasmania to Australia’s mainland, as well as working with Polaris and countless others. We have relationships with those bands on a friendship level and also on a professional level. I try to pick up as much information as I possibly can, drawing from other musician’s experiences and then apply what I have learnt to myself in a unique way. All while trying to avoid the pitfalls where I can.
Have you found that fans of each of your old bands have jumped on board with LUNE or has it been a process of having to win them over again?
We have noticed old fans jumping on board with LUNE, with the big one being I, Valiance because when they released The Reject Of Humanity that was a huge shift within the deathcore community, not just within Australia but worldwide. I don’t think anyone had heard anything similar to the absolute hulk of a man that is Mark Poida making the noises that he makes as well as things like clown noises with breakdowns that are tuned super low that they almost hit the brown note. I don’t think a lot of people had heard music that was that weird.
I think the thing that was really concerning about when some of those fans came across was that we thought that they may be expecting some of the weird elements of I, Valiance and maybe they would hate us because we aren’t I, Valiance. That has not been the case though, it has been really cool to see the support from a community that can be inherently picky with the music that they listen to.
With COVID-19 currently plaguing the earth, has LUNE managed to use their time in lockdown creatively?
Absolutely! We are working on new music. We already have a lot of songs written. My brother and I just moved into a house together, and we managed to convert our garage space into a studio. I won’t say too much, but we are going to finish off what we are working on at home, which will most likely see us out until the end of the year. Hopefully, people can hear something from that in 2021. Our main focus, for now, is the Ghost EP, in terms of getting that out there and to have people actually hearing the music. We have all worked hard on it, and collectively, we are excited for people to listen to it. We hope people enjoy it as much as we did when we were creating it.
What can you tell us about the two unreleased songs from the EP? And what is your favourite song?
That’s tough! It is funny you ask that because every song we were doing was kind of the favourite. I had written all my lyrics but as I was working on the EP, track by track, each song had its time as being the main focus. We wanted to make sure that we gave every song the love it deserved. I’d say that my favourite would probably be ‘Modern Bones’. It’s a bit more melodic, and there’s a stronger chorus, as well as more of a sing-along feel to it. I am a big sucker for sing-alongs and melodic choruses. I wanted that song where there can be a stronger level of crowd involvement, rather than just standing there, being beaten up by riffs. The lyrics are also a little more personal on that one. I didn’t write it with the hope of being relatable, but for me, it seems to be the most relatable song on the EP. There is a lot of different vocal ranges happening in that track also; it’s not just a lot of mid to low screaming noises, there is a fair bit of melody too.
A lot of bands within our scene have had to postpone the release of their albums due to COVID-19. With the latest releases from Make Them Suffer, and Justice For The Damned being just a couple of examples. Has the pandemic affected this EP’s release and if so, how have you dealt with the obstacles that have been presented?
Absolutely. We had a music video planned which we lost a lot of money on because it couldn’t go ahead and we had already paid for everything. We were supposed to shoot that in April, and we pushed back our EP release for that video. Personally, I was $1,000 out of pocket because of that. We also had a lot of shows booked that hadn’t been announced yet, as well as multiple tour offers. Watching none of it come to fruition is incredibly disappointing. I think a lot of artists took comfort in the fact that it is not just them who have been affected, it is really easy to feel as if you have been targeted or that you can’t catch a break. I noticed that after the initial chaos of lockdown had subsided, people began to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and began looking at their options of how they can engage audiences throughout this time.
Obviously, within our community of music fans and musicians, there are a lot of people who are very much interested in the gear aspect of music, with guitar tones and things of that nature. Not in a mean way but we have been referring to it as nerd hunting. Our drummer Harrison is a frightening guitar player; he is incredibly talented. Will Putney, who is a world-famous metal producer and has worked with bands like Northlane, Thy Art Is Murder, and The Acacia Strain and many others ran a guitar playing competition. Harrison won the first place out of roughly 100,000 entries from all over the world. Harrison is somewhat internet famous for being a crazy guitar player, but he plays drums in both of his bands, which I find very funny.
We came to the conclusion that, while working in the commercial industry, I want to make everything look good. Then once we took a good look at what is going on around us and realised it is kind of okay to have these quick and nasty things occur. People are still sitting around on their phones; they still want music to be there and be apart of their lives, so we have had to find a way to engage our audience. That was playing some of the riffs people haven’t heard on our Instagram, doing live streams, trying to engage with people who are listening to our music and nurture the people who are taking the next step to back us. There is one particular guy in America who has been throwing our name around everywhere. He has supported us from day one. We are trying to engage with those kinds of people. So making ourselves more accessible in that way with an online presence was a good way to keep us in the loop and maintain that sense of engagement. It’s different; everybody seems to be learning by the day. Considering a lot of bands are doing much better than they thought they would be doing after a once in a one hundred year crisis.
Is LUNE working on anything specifically for post-COVID-19?
We have a couple of things booked. No dates are locked in because that is all up in the air at the moment. As soon as it is safe, not allowed, for people to come to shows, we would like to tour and play shows. We really want to perform songs that people haven’t seen in a live setting before. Collectively LUNE is really excited to get out there and show people that we can pull these songs off live while engaging with different cities and different crowds. David, Chris, Harrison and myself have all done so much touring so having to sit on your hands while going through the motions of doing a release cycle is incredibly frustrating because naturally, we are all so excited to get out and perform. We are just genuinely excited to engage with the people that attend the shows while playing alongside some great bands. Yeah, we are very excited to play shows! (laughs)
We had a good taste of the good life at our first show. We did not expect the first show to go so well. When our booking agent and our PR people told us that they want us to headline, we all thought that it was a lot to ask from a crowd. For a new band who have released one song to headline a show with established bands who have been around for years supporting us, regardless of everyone’s experience in the band, it was incredibly intimidating. With that show being as successful as it was, made the whole process very exciting, especially when we had no expectations.
I’m not sure if you are aware of this; however, a Wall Of Sound writer reviewed that show. That gig review was our most-read gig review of December 2019, which is a great effort.
Really?! That’s crazy. Thank you, that is very cool. That being said, we try not to look back and rest on our laurels at all because that seems to be the death of a lot of bands. For us, our main goal is to keep moving forward with constant motion because we don’t want to be a band that releases the same record every two years. We don’t want to be those people (laughs). While that is very cool and I’m thrilled about it, it is kind of nice to go into that stuff with no expectations because I would hate to have a big head about anything I do. Ultimately we are here for the music.
Interview by Adam Rice @adamrice1994
Get pre-ordering LUNE‘s Ghost EP right here
LUNE – Ghost EP tracklisting
2. Misery Dialogue
4. Modern Bones
5. Mirror Image